Nowadays with internet access, humans are able to read and learn about places that you will never imagine they even exist and you will never ever imagine you can be there.

My name is Ana Paula. I live in México City, one of the biggest cities in the world. And here I am, in Cameroon.

I came here thanks to internet where I found a very interesting programme about the ERuDeF Institute of Biodiversity and Non-Profit Studies (ERuDeF Institute) International Volunteering Programme and how it is helping to conserve the Cross River Gorilla whose population is less than 300 in all the world!

So, the adventure began and we went to the newly created Tofala Wildlife Sanctuary in Lebialem Division in the Southwest Region, where they said the probability of seeing a gorilla is small. The place has 8,700 hectares and they estimate that between 15 and 20 Cross River gorillas live there. Anyway, being there was beautiful enough.

One morning after a good breakfast (pasta and tomato sauce) we started hiking. Lianas can be your best friend when the climb is very steep because you can hold them but at the same time they are tricky because they kind of hug your foot making you fall down. Anyway, the team was optimistic that morning and actually we said…. Today is the Day!!!! So we sat down, ate lunch (biscuits and Mambo [chocolate bars], so good) and waited very quietly.

Suddenly, a tree shook.

With signs I asked….. Who is there? Is our guide there? And they said, nooooo, prepare your camera!!!!

Two minutes later…

We saw a gorilla crossing. Yes, it was a gorilla crossing!! Very fast but slow enough to see part of his head and shoulder.

We all were in shock!

Anybody took a picture? Somebody asked and we all denied with our faces. One person in the team started to cry (tears of happiness) and I can just say that my heart was beating so fast and loud that the people in the village could hear it.

It is not easy to describe in words the feeling and the privilege that I felt to have this unique and beautiful experience. I thank all the members of the team for making my experience one in a life time. I will remember forever this moment.